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Call for LEPs to be given more power
THE CBI has called on the government to hand Local Enterprise Partnerships, such as Tees Valley Unlimited and the North East LEP, greater powers.
The employer organisation wants the LEPs, which replaced the defunct regional development agencies, to be granted statutory status so they can take a lead role in shaping their local economies.
It comes as the CBI publishes a growth strategy for each part of Britain, emphasising that every area, and cities in particular, need their own bespoke growth plan. It argues that successive governments have overlooked pockets of private sector potential because economic policy focused on closing the gap between regions, rather than realising and maximising the potential within them.
It also wants changes to the Regional Growth Fund to help cash-starved small firms secure a bigger share of the government’s flagship job creation scheme. Reducing the minimum bid threshold from £1m to £500,000 would help more smaller firms bid for support, the CBI said.
It wants the government to increase the size of the new Enterprise Zones to help attract more inward investment to the regions.